Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 12/12/2001 4:44:27 AM EST
Hi all:

Generally, I'm interested in a surplus 9mm piece, and the Walther P-38 caught my eye, but I don't know anything about it.

Can anyone tell me about the P-38? Is it blowback or locking breech? Is it reliable? Does it come apart for cleaning easily?

Is it worth the $300 or so I see in SGN?
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 6:14:06 AM EST
Having owned several in the past, I generally like them. Never a problem hitting what was aimed at. Read up on it some more as there is lots to know. Matching #, make, year, etc. They will not handle hollow points all the time being made for FMJ, but lead is fine. To me, its a classic. For $300, most likely not a collectors piece but a decent shooter. It has a breech block like a beretta. Breaks down easy too.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 6:25:48 AM EST
The P38 is a low capacity pistol and WW2 vintage versions are more curios than real weapons due to indifferent wartime production and equally indifferent Soviet "arsenal refinishing." That's what you get for your $300.

Pricer versions with "all matching numbers" are nicer.

You can buy new commercial versions of these as well.

I see these by the crate in Ohio and some are quite nice. First practical Double Action automatic pistol.

-- Chuck
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 8:52:45 AM EST

I'd like to to hear about accuracy and "feel."

Link Posted: 12/12/2001 9:32:04 AM EST

I'd like to to hear about accuracy and "feel."


Accuracy, at least out of my wartime P38, is nothing special.

Feel is not the P38's strongest point. The grip, while shaped fairly well, isn't very comfortable.

Mine has probably the worst trigger, in both SA and DA mode, of any handgun I own. They say that you should not use the decocker to drop the hammer, you should ease it down. Something is prone to break when the decocker is used on a regular basis.

The sights are better than the Luger, being a true notch & blade instead of the barleycorn & V-notch mess on so many other German guns.

The placement of the chamber-loaded indicator is horrible. It shouldn't be at the rear of the slide, and it really should not consist of a sharp little pin. I put a hole in my hand when reflexively trying to smack the slide forward when it failed to go fully into battery.

The butt-mounted mag release is unfortunate but typical of many European pistols. Takedown is easy, similar to the SIG-Sauer line of guns.

All in all, it is an interesting piece from a collector's standpoint because it exhibits many significant advances, but it is far outclassed (IMO) as a combat handgun by both the 1911 and P35.

Link Posted: 12/12/2001 9:33:33 AM EST
It's not unlike the Beretta 92 with its open slide design. I had one once briefly, I didn't care for the DA trigger but it was still fun to shoot. Sights were pretty anemic, as they are on just about all military pistols of that era. Fun to plink with, I don't think I ever put it on paper but it had no trouble with "minute of beer can" out to 25 yards or so.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 4:02:36 PM EST
One in good condition would be pretty nice. I've had two of them, and liked them. They feed ball fine, LRN reloads fine, didn't like my SWC or full wadcutter reloads, though.

How does it feel?

Every hand is different. Hold one in your hand and dry fire it a few times. If *your* hand likes it, you'll know it.

Mine is a 1944 Mauser mfg'd one that is very reliable, and seems accurate. I am used to the mag. catch on the bottom, and so it is a non-issue for me.

Get the flap holster and spare mag, too. My spare mag is Walther mfg'd., marked 7.65 parabellum, but feeds 9mm parabellum just fine.

While you're at it, get a Makarov to keep the P-38 company.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 4:22:36 PM EST
I have an early BYF-42 P-38, bought in unfired condition..Was very touchy about ammo, preferring 124 grain to 115 grain ammo.. Double action pull sucked, and still sucks, but single action is quite good..Accuracty is acceceptable. Below the 1911A1, the CZ75, and the Astra 600, but above the other handguns I own..

Very reliable, provided you feed it 124 grain ammo.

Although I bought it cheap, and it's the worst 9x19mm pistol I own for functionality, I do like it..

Link Posted: 12/13/2001 12:31:18 PM EST
Spend a little extra - $375 - and get a commercial P1 from Federal Arms Corp. The single/double trigger is as good as any modern semi. All the 'controls' are in about the same place as the Beretta 92. Mine shoots where I point it and feeds all but the very largest-cavity hollowpoints. It's a bit lighter in the muzzle than the 92. I've liked it a lot (for about 40 years). :)

I don't know what the current 'best price' is for a Siglockretta, but if I were starting out gun-less, I'd spend the $ on one of them, just for the hi-cap aspect.
Top Top